June 05, 2009 11:45 AM

Z and his longtime partner Vielpunkt have long been devoted to each other and now they can share their love with a new member of the family.

The Humboldt penguins, who live in the Bremerhaven Zoo in northern Germany, decided to adopt an egg left behind when another penguin couple lost interest in their offspring. The pair took turns keeping an egg warm under their bellies and since the baby penguin hatched four weeks ago, they share feeding and childcare duties equally. “It’s heart-warming how both of them care for the chick,” zoo veterinarian Joachim Schoene told a German wire service.

Z and Vielpunkt – whose name means “many spots,” referring to his freckled belly –first made headlines in 2005 when Bremerhaven Zoo management revealed that several of the male penguins appeared to be in homosexual relationships with each other. An attempt to “remedy” the situation that year failed miserably: The female penguins brought in from Sweden barely made an impression on the 22 males, most of whom remained true to their partners.

A few did hook up, however, and while they may not have been parent material, at least they had the sense to leave their egg for two penguins who were. While their adoptive baby doesn’t have a name yet, it does appear to be very happy with its two dads.

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